A little more than a year ago, Twente Enschede manager and England native Steve McClaren became an unwitting YouTube star when he adopted a strange, affected Dutch accent in an (ostensibly) English TV interview with a local station. There were initial fears that the former England manager might try out a mock German inflection in his new role at VfL Wolfsburg as well, but in fact, his tenure has brought about lingual confusion of the opposite kind: an increasing number of "Wolves" supporters have taken to voicing their frustrations in English, with somewhat mixed results.
The Bundesliga's 48th season kicks off on Friday night, when defending champion Bayern Munich meets 2008-09 winner VfL Wolfsburg, now coached by Steve McClaren. Here is a (moderately) educated guess as to how the 18 teams might finish -- subject to some last-minute wheeling and dealing, naturally:
David Beckham's return to the English national team for Friday's game against Brazil and next Wednesday's vital Euro 2008 qualifier in Estonia has dominated the headlines this week. The setting couldn't be more fitting: The return of the glamour boy of English football in a glamour friendly against Brazil at the new Wembley Stadium.
At least there's one man in England brimming with optimism. After disappointing showings in Euro 2008 qualification games against Croatia and tiny Macedonia, the English national team is facing crucial games with Israel and Andorra.